AN experienced beer and pub industry professional is to become chairman of the Masham-based Black Sheep Brewery.

Andy Slee will take up the role from this month, while Paul Theakston, founder and current chairman, will remain on the Board as a Non-Executive Director (NED).

Mr Slee, 52, from Staffordshire, has more than 30 years’ experience in the industry and has been a NED at Black Sheep Brewery since 2016.

He has enjoyed a successful executive career with a number of leading brands, including Coca Cola and most recently as external affairs and central operations director at Punch Taverns, which was the second largest pub company in the UK at the time.

Mr Slee completed his Financial Times NED Diploma in 2014 before becoming a NED at the brewery last year

In his role as chairman, he will work mainly with managing drector Rob Theakston to build on Black Sheep’s reputation as one of the pre-eminent independent brewers in the UK.

Mr Slee was delighted to have been appointed as chairman of Black Sheep Brewery.

He said: "It is a great privilege to oversee one of the Yorkshire’s iconic institutions. I hope to draw on my extensive experience from working with a number of large brands within the industry and build this into the future of Black Sheep.

“It will be a great honour to work with Rob and the rest of the Board, including Paul whose continued involvement will be great asset to the company.

“He is the very DNA of Black Sheep and our collective experience, together with his wise guidance and counsel, will be important to the future success of Black Sheep Brewery.”

Paul Theakston established Black Sheep Brewery in 1992, and has worked in the industry for more than 50 years.

Two of his sons, Rob and Jo, form part of the management team, as managing director and sales and marketing director, respectively.

Paul Theakston said: “Andy possesses extensive industry experience working with large corporations and breweries, which will support the Board and management team immensely.

“I am looking forward to working with him and the Board, as we continue to develop the Black Sheep brand.”